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LATEST: Hanna makes landfall on coronavirus-stricken South Texas

PortandTerminal.com, July 25, 2020

UPDATE: Hurricane Hanna makes landfall at Padre Island, Texas as Cat 1 storm | NHC warning that Hanna may bring tornados

HOUSTON – Hanna, the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic season, made landfall on the Texas coast on Saturday, threatening one of the nation’s COVID-19 hot spots with storm surge and flooding.

The storm was located about 70 miles (115 kilometers) South East of Corpus Christi in Texas, packing maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (129 kph) on Saturday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Three people watching heavy surf. Waves. Child sitting on man's shoulders

“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the Miami-based forecaster said.

On Padre Island, where forecasters said hurricane-force winds were offshore on Saturday afternoon, pelting rain and strong gusts of wind were rocking palm trees and the beach was already underwater, according to video footage on Twitter.

Hanna could cause “life-threatening surf” and a few tornadoes overnight on the Texas coastal plain, the NHC said.

The storm is not expected to affect offshore oil and gas production. Energy companies have not evacuated workers or shut down production from their Gulf of Mexico platforms because of Hanna.

The Corpus Christi Channel experiences wind and choppy waters ahead of Hurricane Hanna, Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Port Aransas, Texas. (Annie Rice/Corpus Christi Caller)

Hanna is projected to come ashore between Corpus Christi and Brownsville, a region that has struggled to contain outbreaks of COVID-19 in recent weeks. Cases along the state’s coast have soared into the tens of thousands, and more than 400 people in Corpus Christi’s city of 325,000 were hospitalized with the novel coronavirus on Friday, according to city data.

“We’re riding two horses right now” – Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb on Hurricane Hanna and COVID19 happening simultaneously

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb warned residents who live in flood-prone areas to heed coronavirus precautions when deciding to evacuate, the Texas Tribune reported.

“Take several masks with you because you might be there a couple days if you’re in a flood area,” McComb said, according to the Tribune. “We don’t want to expose anyone during this storm. … Even when you’re in the house, I recommend wearing a mask if you’re in crowded conditions.”

On Friday, residents in several Texas communities in Kleberg County, south of Corpus Christi, were urged to evacuate their homes ahead of Hanna’s arrival.

Hanna will be the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season to make landfall along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, after Tropical Storm Cristobal hit Louisiana in early June.

Hanna could bring flash flooding, with up to 15 inches (38 cm) of rain in pockets of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico.

Meanwhile, nearly 800 bar owners in Texas said they would participate in “Freedom Fest” on Saturday, and openly defy a June 26 order by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to shut down. Hundreds of bars will reopen, serving alcohol and offering live entertainment, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Contributing: Reuters

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